According to EFE, a study by an international group found that the imbalance of the intestinal microflora is related to the development of amyloid plaques in the human brain, also known as “senile plaques”, which are the origin of Alzheimer’s disease. University of Geneva website.
Alzheimer’s is one of the most neurodegenerative diseases of concern in today’s society, and more and more cases are becoming a major public health problem. There are only one million people in Europe living with Alzheimer’s who are directly affected by the disease, plus a few million more if families and the environment are taken into account as a result of this neurodegenerative disease.
The medical team behind this discovery is made up of specialists from the University of Geneva (Switzerland) and the University Hospital, who have collaborated with Italian scientists, the National Center for Alzheimer’s Research and Care in Brescia and scientists from the University and the Center. IRCCS SDN investigation in Naples.
“We have already shown that the intestinal microflora of Alzheimer’s patients changes compared to people without similar disorders. In the former, the diversity of the microflora was reduced, with over-representation of some bacteria and decrease in others.” explained one of the authors of the study, Giovanni Frisoni, director of the Center for Memory at the University Hospital of Geneva, and wanted the research to answer the question: “Can inflammation of the blood act as a mediator between the microflora and the brain?”
It is estimated that there are about 2,000 species of bacteria in the human body, of which about a hundred can be harmful. As the study progressed – with the participation of 89 people between the ages of 65 and 85, including Alzheimer’s patients, people with other neurodegenerative diseases, and issues with no memory problems – a level of inflammation was identified. in the blood, certain intestinal bacteria and Alzheimer’s. According to experts, there are several ways in which intestinal bacteria affect the functioning of the brain. One of them is due to the effect of these bacteria on the immune system (small intestine), which changes the interaction of the nervous system.
Another important finding has been the confirmation in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s lipoposaccharides, proteins in the membrane of inflammatory bacteria. The scientists say the results are indisputable and confirm that some bacterial agents in the microflora (also known as intestinal flora) are linked to the level of “senile plaques” in the brain and that the blood system acts as a mediator between the two. transport of proteins from bacteria to the brain.
“Our results are indisputable: some bacteria in the intestinal microflora are related to the number of amyloid plaques in the brain product,” said Moira Marizzoni, one of the authors of the study. “In fact, high levels of blood lipopolysaccharides and some short-chain fatty acids (acetate and valerate) have been linked to large deposits of brain amyloid. High levels of another short-chain fatty acid, butyrate, have been linked to less pathology (in favor of amyloid plaques).” , added Marizzoni.
The most important impact of this finding, details of which were published in the journal Alzheimer’s Disease, will be seen in the area of prevention, as it will pave the way for new strategies based on modulating the microflora of people at higher risk of developing this condition. . This can be done with bacterial cocktails or prebiotics to feed the “good” bacteria.
Specialists have stated, however, that they will still have to wait until the good strains that should be included in this cocktail are identified. Moreover, the protective effect of these treatments would only be effective if the disease is detected at an early stage, which is why it is more about therapies than preventive treatments.